Niall Horan is using ''self-help books'' to combat claustrophobia and panic attacks.

The One Direction hunk suffered a panic attack in December after getting stuck in a lift with young fans in a hotel in Milan and wants to take the right precautions to make sure this sort of incident does not reoccur.

A source told the Daily Star newspaper: ''Niall really wants to conquer this problem once and for all. He's essentially practising amateur psychology at the moment and is getting through three books a week.

''The self-help books are teaching him how to manage crowds with various coping techniques.

''He has stacks of them by his bed and they're really making a difference to his state of mind.''

Niall was shocked following the mishap in December and even after he was out of the lift he claimed his heart was ''still thumping''.

He wrote on Twitter: ''Eight of us got stuck in a tiny lift. Claustrophobia is a terrible thing, and people telling you to calm down is worse. I was freaking out. My heart is still thumping.''

The 'Story of My Life' hitmaker has opened up about his claustrophobia in the past, particularly if he's surrounded by over-eager fans.

He has admitted: ''I do get a bit scared sometimes - when we're in the tour bus, fans start climbing all over it and smacking on the windows, trying to get in.

''They start chasing after us, screaming. I'm claustrophobic and I don't like everyone crowding around and shouting questions. I get a bit scared.''